NARAS Texas Chapter Reception
Daniel Carlin (Photo By Mary Sledd)
NARAS Texas Chapter ReceptionDriskill Hotel, Wednesday, March 17
Daniel Carlin, chairman of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, wants you to know that the Grammy givers are not the Recording Industry Association of America. Speaking at the NARAS Texas Chapter reception Wednesday night, he related how NARAS had conducted focus groups around the country in preparation for their "What's the Download?" campaign on illegal downloading. In addition to having a "David versus Goliath" attitude about downloading, few focus group participants were able to distinguish NARAS from their surlier, litigious cousin. "They think we're the people suing the grandmothers," quipped Carlin. Maybe that's starting to change. Since the departure of the oft-cantankerous Michael Greene, NARAS President Neil Portnow has worked on cultivating "mutual respect" between artists and fans. Unlike the RIAA, NARAS has learned from the bad PR inherent in treating your customers like thieves when Gallup finds 83% of teens think illegal downloading is acceptable. NARAS' "What's the Download?" Web site attempts to educate fans rather than browbeating them, which is refreshing. Portnow came to Austin bearing good news about the post-Grammy sales bump, too. In the week after the Grammys, music sales increased nearly 36%, which was a 24% increase from the 2003 bump. "We're hopeful that we're on the cusp of positive change in this industry," Portnow said. Portnow and Carlin both gave recognition to Texas chapter president/Austin City Limits
producer Terry Lickona for serving as co-chairman of the Grammy TV committee, noting that this year's telecast was the highest rated since 2001. The Texas chapter's presence at the FCC and congressional hearings on broadcast industry consolidation and the resulting loss of locally originated programming was also noted. Along with fighting to preserve music education in schools, these common ground issues may be just what the industry needs to make up for ground lost in the war over downloading.
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